Korra and Asami's relationship in The Legend of Korra proved to be one of the show's most groundbreaking features. While the sequel series offered a lot for fans, the romance between these two bisexual ladies, as subtle as it was, guaranteed it a place in animation history books. However, it was not the first time creators Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko toyed with the idea of featuring queer relationships in Avatar.
Which couple was being considered? Were Azula and Ty Lee a couple like voice actress Grey DeLisle-Griffin has speculated? If the age difference between the two was smaller, could Zukaang have been a thing? Toph kissed Suki by accident once; what if she realized she liked kissing girls? The reality, according to a television spot aired during the show's run, is much stranger -- the romance being teased on Nickelodeon was between Momo with Appa.
The Television Spot
As the series was airing, Nickelodeon aired a series of behind-the-scenes spots under the banner of Avatar: Creating The Legend. One of these commercials asked the creators of Avatar questions such as "How long does it take to create one episode?" and other behind-the-scenes details that fans were curious about.
However, about two minutes and twenty-two seconds into the clip, the creators are asked about the potential of a Zuko and Katara romance. The response? "You should really be wondering about an Appa and Momo romance." No more on the matter is said, with the creators going on to tease Aang and Katara's romance, which would become the end game for the series.
A Joke Mixed with Realities
This response, of course, is tongue-and-cheek and silly. Momo and Appa are obviously mismatched for one another, being two different animals of drastically different sizes. It is obviously a dismissive statement meant to poke fun at the popular Zuko/Katara ship.
However, it remains an official piece of Avatar history that teased the possibility of a queer relationship years before Korra and Asami paired up. At this point in time, even teasing a same-sex relationship in a children's cartoon was out of the question. Whenever a show presented a "same sex kiss," such as the Naruto/Sasuke kiss in Naruto that aired on Cartoon Network around the same time, it was only ever as a gag.
This illustrates how much the landscape has changed for queer rep. In the mid-2000s, the closest fans could get to seeing queer content in family media was censored content from Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura. This spot, while entirely a goof, puts the later canon romance between two women in this series's immediate sequel into perspective. It illustrates real growth on the part of a series already heralded as one of the greatest of all time.